Yesterday, on a hot New England day, Rich and I drove the children to the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island. It took us about an hour and a half to get there, the perfect distance to put my feet up on the dash, read my book, hold hands with Rich, and listen to itunes on the radio. I did get into trouble once, for nagging Rich about his driving. But, after he confessed that he began the trip with the intention of driving the best he could and that I made him tense, I shut my mouth and just tried to look (and act) pretty.
We wanted to visit the zoo for Caleb. He is six and is very interested in snakes. He had to write a paper on snakes for first grade, and that is how it all began. Since then, he’s been checking out every book at the library that he could find on snakes. He is starting to collect rubber snakes, because we won’t let him get a real one. One morning he came to me with tears in his eyes and said, “Mom? I feel so sorry for the milk snake, because people confuse it with the venomous coral snake…….and kill it!” (sob) I found him a “Snake Dictionary” and he knows all about each snake. There are truly a great many different snakes out there in the big world, and some of them are (dare I say) quite lovely, too. Caleb’s mind is like a sponge, soaking up all this information….but, he wants to see the real thing. Books are not enough anymore, and he’s been begging us to take him to the zoo.
We saw the long necked giraffe.
The elephants were getting their bath.
We saw penguins.
And beautiful pink flamingos.
Then….finally…..the snakes. Two Emerald Tree Boas to be exact. Perhaps we missed something, but the anticipation of seeing a variety of snakes was great, and to see only one kind was little teeny bit disappointing. Good ol’ Caleb seemed to be fine with it, though. It helped that we bought him a rubber snake at the gift shop.
We only lost track of family members once or twice. No one cried. We all enjoyed ourselves, and what’s better to wear on the skin than sticky stuff from little boy hands? I can’t think of any perfume better than that. It’s been 12 years since Jacob was Seth’s age and I’m so utterly grateful to have this three year old in my arms, or even, yes, running helter skelter away from me just like his four big brothers have done. I’m still good at catching them and bringing them back.
Our Davy also loves the different animals and was thrilled to run around, looking at all of them. He also had a thrill when he turned the crank to stamp an animal on a penny.
So sweet. It really doesn’t take much to please a child.
We left the zoo, hot and happy. On the way home we stopped at a chicken place for a late lunch.
Back at home, Caleb worked on his new snake coloring book.
Rich went straight to the hammock and when he fell asleep, I took Sarah in my arms.
Under the late afternoon son, we went swimming, for me it was the first swim in our newly dug out pond. I loved it, the children were amazed that I was swimming with them. So was the cat.
When Rich woke up, he and the boys went to work on the yard.
They discovered turtle eggs in the topsoil that he had brought in from the quarry.
I also made a discovery in my garden.
Green caterpillars all over in my lettuce.
I picked as many as I could off.
And threw them in with the chickens. They were gone in about 5 seconds.
How do you keep caterpillars off your lettuce?
Happiness is a little bouquet of daisies, picked and brought to you from your own sweet boy.
Happiness is a red swimming suit, with white polka dots, drying on the line.
And, happiness is GETTING YOUR BRACES OFF!
Someone handsome just got handsomer, today! I love his perfect smile, and Seth has been so funny about Jacob’s new teeth. He keeps saying, “Let me see your smile, Jake!” He doesn’t remember a Jacob without braces and he asked where they went. The orthodontist sent Jacob home with a bag of candy, candy that had previously been off-limits when the braces were on. And he got to sign his name to the wall in the office. A very happy day for our Jacob.